A FRIENDLY WORD OF ADVICE TO THE GOP

- from CVR President Dom Sciria's comments to the membership January 28, 2015




I like to tell my wife, Kathy that we're just now approaching middle age.  (She's in the back of the room right now rolling her eyes.)  But it was actually a while back when we were at a family dinner and one of my sisters interrupted me and said, "Oh my God, you sound just like Dad".  Everybody at the table stopped and just grinned.  After a couple of seconds I responded "Yeah, scary isn't it?"  We've all been there - the day we become our parents.

I mention this because, with all the turmoil going on in the Republican Party, I've been reading how some of the pundits are saying that the GOP needs the grownups in the room to stand up.  So I thought I'd take this opportunity, on behalf of our CVR membership, which includes many moms and dads, to offer some unsolicited advice to our elected Republican officials, the GOP, and our fellow grass roots activists. Because, as you know, offering unsolicited advice is something we dads do.  (Now my son Paul's rolling his eyes.)

So here goes:

First, to the Republicans we've elected to the statehouse and congress:

1.  Remember the job we sent you to do. 

We didn't elect you to make government run better or smarter.  We didn't elect you to pass more laws.  And we didn't elect you to see how many of our tax dollars you can bring back from Washington and Columbus.  We elected you to defend our freedom and the Constitution of the United States. 

If you really want to save us money, you can do things to really make government smaller and dismantle much of what has been put in place already, particularly during the last 6 years.  And, by the way, if you think this is just wishful thinking, please tell me now, so I won't ask volunteers, like the people who make up the CVR and other grass roots organizations, to waste any of their time in 2016. 

2. Stop allowing Barack Obama to frame the debate. 

When you let him get away with calling every new assault on our freedom a "reform", you've already lost half the battle.  Quit giving this guy the benefit of the doubt.  When you portray Obama as naïve, ill-informed and out-of-touch, you're actually validating him as someone who has good intentions, but just is not succeeding.  The truth is Barack Obama is succeeding at exactly what he set out to do, which is to transform this country into a socialist nanny state or worse.  If you want to stop the Obama juggernaut, you must stand before the American people and expose it for what it is.

To the Republican Party:

1. Change your focus to the local level.

Urban areas like greater Cleveland are incubators of the radical left.  That's how Rahm Emmanuel, Al Sharpton and Barack Obama all got their starts.  If you want to beat these guys, you have to confront them on their own turf.  And you have to simultaneously create a Republican brand of home-grown activists in those same communities.
 
In 2014 Cuyahoga County had the finest candidate for county executive that we have ever fielded for countywide office.  We also had judicial candidates of the highest character, with superb qualifications - all facing tough races.  Meanwhile, at the state level, the GOP had every race sewn up.  Cuyahoga County, because of its importance as the site of the 2016 National Convention, and because of its importance in the 2016 Presidential elections, should have been the focus of Republican efforts in the state of Ohio.  But our county level candidates received either next to nothing or too little too late from the GOP.  What's worse, some prominent Republican leaders donated money to Democrat candidates.  Shame on us.  This is not acceptable, and we, as a party, cannot allow this to stand.

2. Fire the consultants.

Use the money you waste on them to instead empower the grass roots of this party, which, by the way, includes people that consider themselves Tea Party members.  If you think that Mitch McConnell was reelected without the reluctant support of the most conservative voters in the GOP or that John Boehner was again made speaker without the votes of some of the house's most conservative members, please call me.  I have some ocean-front property I want to sell you. 

The GOP needs to listen local grass-roots leaders at the county level who know how to bypass the media and win elections one vote at a time.  If we had done that in 2012, Mitt Romney would be president.  Mayors and neighborhood activists know more about running a ground game than a paid consultant ever will.  (Remember Operation Orca?)  If it would help, I can introduce you to some 80-year-old ward leaders who can teach your staffs how to win an election without staring blindly into an iPhone.

To our Tea Party friends:

Cheer up!

You have every right to be scared and upset.  Barack Obama's assault on the United States Constitution is unprecedented in our nation's history.  But a dour, angry demeanor will not win elections.  Just ask Rick Santorum. 

Sometimes we all have to stop taking ourselves so seriously.   Laughter really is the best medicine.  You can break down a lot of walls with good will. 

Please remember that there are good people on both sides of the aisle.  Some of the people that have been kindest to me in my private life think of themselves as liberals.  Some are even Democrats.  Our job is not to push away those who disagree with us.  Our job is to win them over. 

Those of us on the right love you.

This is not a criticism.  It's just feedback from friends.  

Don't get mad. Get even.

And finally to our fellow Republican voters:

Don't be disheartened, and don't give up. 

It's really not all that bad.  Small but determined groups of individuals can change history.  In the 14th century, after seven long years, Robert the Bruce, with a force of less than 6,000 men, won the Scottish people's freedom by defeating a 100,000 man English army.  All we have to do is kick out of office a group of individuals who I consider to be no better than a bunch of schoolyard bullies.  Our task pales in comparison.

Politics doesn't have to be all-consuming.  But, if we're not happy with our party or our government, we can't wait around and just expect somebody else to make things happen.  Please remember that you're the best thing that the Republican Party has going for it.  Without you, all of the money on Wall Street isn't going win the presidency.  When you're engaged, it's a game changer.

Thank you for supporting the CVR. 

And thank you for helping to preserve our republic.